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Lung Cancer Treatment Options

“At SNCC, we believe in treating the patient as a whole, not only the disease,” Dr. Perez said. “We work diligently to educate patients about their condition and treatment options.”

 For more information about lung cancer, see our newsletter here.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed to both men and women and accounts for about 13 percent of all new type of cancers. It is responsible for 27 percent of all cancer deaths.

 According to the American Cancer Society, there are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.

 “Each type of lung cancer has a variety of different treatment options,” said Dr. Jorge Perez oncologist with Sierra Nevada Cancer Center. “Treatment options should be specific to your case, so it is important to discuss all possible treatment options with your oncologist.”

 Treatments for lung cancer may include:

 Surgical options:

  • Pneumonectomy: where an entire lung is removed.
  • Lobectomy: where an entire section or lobe of a lung is removed.

 Radiofrequency ablation (RFA):

Treatment where a probe is placed through the skin and into the tumor sending an electric current that heats the tumor to destroy it.This may also be an option for some patients who cannot tolerate surgery or for small lung tumors that are near the outer edge of the lungs.

 Radiation therapy:

Uses high-energy rays (such as x-rays) or particles to kill cancer cells. There are 2 main types– external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy).

 Targeted therapies:

Targeted drugs that work differently from standard chemotherapy and that specifically target changes in Lung Cancer. They are most often used for advanced lung cancers, either along with chemo or by themselves.


The use of medicines used to stimulate a patient’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells more effectively.


May be used in different situations:

  • Before or after surgery (sometimes along with radiation therapy) to try to shrink a tumor or to kill cancer cells that may have been left behind.
  • As the main treatment (sometimes along with radiation therapy) for more advanced cancers or for some patients where surgery isn't an option.

 Lung cancer chemotherapy, to elaborate,is most commonly used for small and non-small lung cancers. Lung carcinoid tumors do not respond well to chemotherapy because it does not always shrink the carcinoid tumors. Chemotherapy when used for carcinoid tumors is mainly used when they have spread to other organs, causing severe symptoms, and in some cases may be given after surgery.

 Lung cancer chemotherapy may still be an option for patientsFree Web Content, but it is always important to ask your doctor about the risks and benefits about chemotherapy in relation to your cancer case.

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